Economy

Highlights of Union Budget 2015-16

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented Union Budget 2015-16 in the Parliament.

It was the first full year Budget of the NDA government under leadership of Prime Minister of Narendra Modi and the second budget of Arun Jaitley as Finance Minister.

Highlights of Union Budget 2015-16

Taxation

  • No change in the Tax slab on personal income.
  • Wealth tax abolished.
  • Additional 2% surcharge for the super-rich with income more than Rs. 1 crore.
  • For next 4 years, corporate tax has been reduced to 25 percent from present 30 percent.
  • Service tax increased to14 per cent.
  • Apart from CSR, 100% tax exemption for contribution to Swachch Bharat Abhiyan.

New projects 

  • 5 more AIIMSs in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Assam.
  • IIT in Karnataka. While, the Indian School of Mines in Dhanbad, Jharkhand will be converted into IIT.
  • 2 more IIMs in Jammu and Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Post-Graduation institutes of Horticulture in Amritsar, Punjab.
  • University of Disability Studies will be established in Kerala.
  • In Arunachal Pradesh, Centre of film production, animation and gaming will come up.
  • For Infrastructure sector Rs. 70,000 crores allocated.
  • Projects in rail road and irrigation bonds will be tax free.
  • Infrastructure development through PPP model will be revitalised and government will bear majority of the risk.
  • Atal Innovation Mission will be established to draw on expertise of researchers and entrepreneurs to foster scientific innovations. For this mission Rs. 150 crore allocated.
  • 5 ultra-mega power projects each of 4000MW proposed by Government

Defence

  • 2,46,726 crore allocated for Defence. It is 9.87 per cent greater than last year.
  • Make in India campaign will take into consideration for speedy manufacturing of Defence equipment.

Welfare Schemes and new programmes

  • Under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, six crore toilets across the country will be built.
  • By 2020, housing for all.
  • MGNREGA will get MGNREGA of Rs. 5,000 crore. It is highest allocation to this scheme.
  • To improve quality of life of common man, GST and JAM trinity (Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar and Mobile) will be launched.
  • To encourage first generation SC/ST entrepreneurs, MUDRA bank will provide finance.
  • Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) will be further be expanded to 10.3 crore from 1 crore.
  • Government will contribute 50% of the premium limited to Rs. 1,000 a year for the Atal Pension Yojana.
  • 9,000 crore unclaimed funds in PPF/EPF will be used for Senior Citizens Fund.
  • For all Indian, government will create universal social security system.
  • For electric cars production Rs. 75 crore allocated.
  • Renewable energy target for 2022: 60K MW in wind; 10K MW in biomass, 100K MW in solar and 5K MW in small hydro plants.
  • Under the new tourism scheme, development of churches and convents in old Goa; Hampi, Elephanta caves, , Jallianwala Bagh, Forests of Rajasthan, Leh palace, Varanasi Qutb Shahi tombs at Hyderabad.
  • Visa on Arrival (VoA) facility to be increased for 150 countries from present 43 countries.
  • As an alternative to purchasing gold, Sovereign Gold Bond will be launched.
  • In order to facilitate depositors of gold to earn interest and jewellers to obtain loans on their metal accounts new scheme will be launched.
  • Forward Markets Commission (FMC) will be merged with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
  • Under SARFAESI Act 2002, NBFCs registered with the RBI having asset size of Rs 500 crore and above to be considered as financial institution for mid-corporate businesses and fund SME.
  • For Rural Infrastructure Development Bank, Rs. 25,000 crore allocated.
  • To support Micro Irrigation Programme, Rs. 5,300 crore allocated.

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Commercial power generation begins at Kudankulam Nuclear power plant

India’s largest nuclear reactor at Kudankulam has started generating electricity on a commercial basis after it received green signal from Nuclear Power Corporation(NPC).

This 1000 MW reactor made with Russia’s help is generating electricity only on an experimental basis after its turbine had suffered damage a few months ago. After repairing these damages it has started generating full 1000 MW of power.

Power generated form this reactor will provide much needed relief to Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Karnataka and Kerala where power output will be augmented.

The reactor made at a cost of over Rs. 8000 crores has been much delayed and activists have called it ‘unsafe’.

The second 1000 MW unit at Kudankulam is likely to come online in 2015.

Facts about Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is a nuclear power station in Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu with a capacity of generating 2000 MW with 2 reactors.

Advantages of KNPP

  • It’s a technologically proven design.
  • Inbuilt safety features to minimize the risk of any radiation leaks.
  • The location is least earthquake prone area.
  • Its height ensures safety from potential tsunamis.

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Government meets target of opening 10-crore accounts under PM Jan Dhan Yojana

Government has met its target of opening 10 crore bank accounts under its flagship scheme of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY). This target was met a month before its revised deadline of 26 January 2015.

Key facts

  • As of 24 December 2014, 10 crore accounts have been opened under the PMJDY scheme with a collective deposit amounting to Rs 7,690.89 crore.
  • In this regard, a total of 7.74 crore RuPay debit cards have also been issued by banks to beneficiaries.
  • States likes Goa, Kerala, Tripura and Madhya Pradesh and union territories (UT’s) of Chandigarh, Puducherry and Lakshadweep have opened at least one bank account in every targeted household i.e. they have attained 100 per cent financial inclusion under PMJDY .
  • However, nearly two-thirds of all opened bank accounts continue to have zero balance and  7.35 crore bank accounts are currently dormant.

About Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY)

It was launched on 28th August 2014 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the goal of eradicating financial untouchability of the poor by opening at least one bank account for every family in the country in less than six months. It seeks to financially empower the poor by providing them access to formal banking system.

Initially, after its launch the scheme had a target of opening 7.5 crore bank accounts by 26 January, 2015, but later it was revised and raised to 10 crore bank accounts.

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